Attitude Era #1. King of the Ring (June 23, 1996) Part 4

Previously on On the Card: GOLDUSSSSST.

King of the Ring Final: Stone Cold Steve Austin def. Jake “The Snake” Roberts via pinfall in 4:28.

Stone Cold’s music hits, which is actually the Ringmaster’s theme as he won’t get the glass smashing for a number of months. Out he comes, passing his former Hollywood Blondes teammate on the way in. He says nothing to him, probably because Stone Cold can’t talk that much. Vince reveals that Stone Cold was legit sent to an emergency room and received 16 stitches to his lip and tongue. Jake Robert’s music hits and down he comes, dragging Revelations in his bag. Stone Cold is on him, battering at the ribs like a mental case. JR puts both men over, detailing their injuries. Stone Cold jaws off to Roberts, shouting at him to get up, wailing on his injured ribs.

Roberts actually grabs at Irish Referee Tim White’s hand in what seems to be legitimate pain, though could be the 41-year-old refusing to break kayfabe. Stone Cold slaps him and Jake fights back, knocking the Rattlesnake-to-be onto his arse. Stone Cold retaliates and starts ripping at the bandages covering Jake’s ribs, as if removing the flimsy piece of fabric will somehow break the healing spell that keeps his bones strong.

Motherfucking Gorilla Monsoon comes in! He starts shoving Stone Cold about and shoos him away, as if Gorilla, lacking a medical licence, can do some good. Owen calls Gorilla an ape, which is technically true: gorillas, as we all know, are from the family Homindae, known as the “great apes” along with orang-utans, chimpanzees and the species that Gorilla Monsoon is a member of: human beings

Jake gets helped up by Monsoon and soon rallies, knocking Stone Cold down with huge clotheslines. The crowd rises with him at this stage and Vince calls for the DDT. Austin fights back, hammering at Roberts’ ribs in the corner. He mounts the turnbuckle and shouts to the crowd. One stunner later and Stone Cold gets the pin, gets the win and is King of the Ring in 4:28.


Match was guff, but it’s what happens after the match that is important.


Stone Cold beats another old man half to death. What a guy.


Here it is, the moment we’ve all been waiting for: Stone Cold Steve Austin is crowned King of the Ring 1996. Dok Hendrix is waiting there for him. Stone Cold looks absolutely amazing, by the way. The man looks better now than later when he’s guzzlin’ beer an’ kickin’ damn skulls. But we’re not here to talk about how good looking Stone Cold is, we’re here to talk about the greatest, most important promo ever and the genuine beginning to the Attitude Era. I’ll just paste the entire promo ad verbatim.

“The first thing I want to be done is to get that piece of crap out of my ring. Don’t just get him out of the ring, get him out of the WWF, because I’ve prove son, without a shadow of a doubt – you ain’t got what it takes anymore. You sit there and you thump your bible and you say your prayers, and it didn’t get you anywhere. Talk about John. 3:16… Austin 3:16 says: I’ve just whipped your ass!”

Dok Hendrix tries to tell him to lay off, but the Texan is having none of it, laying into Roberts’ alcoholism:

“All he’s gotta do is buy him a cheap bottle of Thunderbird, and try to dig back some of that courage he had in his prime. As the King of the Ring, I’m serving notice to every one of the WWF superstars. I don’t give a damn what they are, they’re all on the list, and that is Stone Cold’s list, and I’m fixing to start running through all of them.”

The crowd starts to boo and Steve just tells them to piss off! Brilliant stuff.

“As far as this championships match is considered, son, I don’t give a damn if it’s Davey Boy Smith or Shawn Michaels. Steve Austin’s time has come, and when I get the shot, you are looking at the next WWF champion, and that’s the bottom line because Stone Cold said so!”

Out he goes without even taking his crown and-


Owen starts talking about how he’s just trying to do commentary without trouble and Mr. Perfect’s music hits. Good God almighty, I am psyched for this already. Mr. Perfect is one of the all-time greats and his music is fantastic. He pops a chewing gum, drops the wrapper, gives a wee wave behind and strolls to the ring in his snazzy black and white striped top. What a lad.

WWF Championship match: Shawn Michaels (c) w/ José Lothario def. The British Bulldog w/ Jim Cornette and Diana Smith via pinfall in 26:24

Jim Cornette must have had a hell of payday tonight, coming out for a three-minute nothing with Vader followed by a half-hour main event. The man was lining his pockets because of the Fed. Davey Boy Smith walks out with his wife, flexing his arms, looking like a burst sausage with those ugly muscles. I used to hate the Bulldog because I’m Irish and the fact that he was pro-Britain rubbed me up the wrong way. Now, I love him because he was a great wrestler, but I still cannot get over my hatred for his stupid roid body. Turns out some fans agree with me because Davey is roaring at some ones front row.

Owen is on the table, telling Bulldog he loves him. Michaels’ music hits and the crowd goes wild. Out comes Shawn with José Lothario and the girls start screaming. At the time, this must have been amazing. How many main eventers have this sort of reaction from both genders? He’s a cross between The Rock and a Chippendale, only with the drug problem of a Skid Row stripper. His entrance lasts for a legit two minutes.

Gorilla Monsoon is in and at this point there are seven people in the ring – the two wrasslers, their managers, the ring announcer, the referee and the president of the WWF. Finkel makes an announcement that Mr. Perfect can stay as a referee… but has to do it outside the ring. He is replaced by Earl Hebner and the crowd go ballistic because Hebner is the motherfucking shit. Or maybe because the heels have been fucked over. It’s hard to know. Vince quips, “There’s nothing wrong with having two referees, that’s for sure!” and then states the odds for the idiots in the audience.

Bulldog gets some boos by waving the Union Jack flag. Michaels gets a USA chant going. I would have hated the former as a child and hate the latter as an adult. The match starts and Davey pushes Michaels away twice. Owen says, “We all know Michaels is a gutless coward,” and Vince replies, “We do not know anything like that.” Some great chain wrestling follows and Michaels takes over to show that he is the superior wrestler but that Bulldog is the stronger of the two. Vince says the match will fall down to luck.

Rest hold city is turned into a great off-the-ropes spot into two hurricanrana spots. Corny tries to hit Shawn with his racket and Michaels disarms him and whups the manager on the arse with his own weapon. Crowd goes mental. Vince: “Cornette got a hot seat!” Diana looks on. She is attempted to look concerned, but really just looks like she smells something familiar yet strange, or trying to remember what she needed to get from the shop. Probably sausages.

Chin lock city, which is disappointing as a lot of this match is waiting around for the next spot. Maybe that’s what Diana is thinking about. Bunch of chain-wrestling to a disappointing stand-off to arm bar city. Jericho would be proud because these men are going through all 1004 of his holds. JR notes that Davey Boy is right handed and that the left arm, the one that Shawn is working on, is naturally the weaker of the two. Bulldog boots Michaels’ in the head and throws him into the turnbuckle. Bulldog denies a head scissors takedown and back to arm bar city. Diana looks on, frowning. She shouts, “Come on Davey,” but the results are inconclusive.

We get a side-by-side shot of the action in the ring compared to Diana’s face. She does not react in any way, except when a fly lands in her open mouth or something. Bless her, they obviously told her to look concerned and she is. Since they told her that Davey would lose, she’s just wondering how hard he can lose and why she has a sudden craving for barbeque. Vince says that Lothario, like Michaels is, “an underdog, not gifted in size or strength.” Michaels gives Bulldog an arm bar… takedown! Exciting! Bulldog lifts Michaels into a gorilla press and walks backwards, dropping him over the top rope onto the mat. Vince goes insane and calls for Bulldog’s disqualification. I did not realise that this was in some way an illegal manoeuvre within wrestling.

On the outside, Mr Perfect is arguing with José Lothario, or, as Owen puts it: “José Lothario is arguing with Mr. Perfect. They should deport him back to Tijuana.” Michaels is covered in gold dust and my bounty hunter instinct goes off. That boy gets everywhere. Bulldog throws Michaels back in and Owen explains that Bulldog doesn’t want to win by countout, he wants to win by pinfall. As it is a championship match, titles would not change hand on a countout anyway. Davey is covered in gold dust.

Bulldog fires Michaels into the corner and the sweetest wrap-around bump of the evening until two seconds later when Bulldog turns him inside out with a grotesque clothesline. Bulldog goes for the surfboard to pin but Michaels stays in the match. Sleeper hold for a while and Michaels escapes, getting a knee to the abdomen for his effort. Michaels gets Irish whipped and thrown high into the air by Bulldog. JR: “You normally get peanuts for a flight like that!” Near fall followed by chin locks. Bulldog is shouting away: “Give up!” Vince references the Cliq, which is interesting.

Straight-up shoot fact: When Razor Ramon (Scott Hall) and Diesel (Kevin Nash) left the Fed for WCW, they were involved in the infamous “curtain call” scandal where they shared a hug in-ring with kayfabe enemies but legit friends Shawn Michaels and Hunter Hearst Helmsley. Vince was furious about this but couldn’t punish Hall or Nash as they were leaving. Neither could he punish Michaels, who was a huge box office draw and champ at the time. So, it came to HHH who was due to win this very King of the Ring to take one for the team and he was demoted to dark matches and jobbing for a while. He took it like a champ, though, and this worked in his favour. It wasn’t long until he was midcard, then had his own stable with Michaels named D-Generation X, ended up riding Vince’s daughter and owning half the fucking company in ten years.

Great running of the ropes into a lariat by Michaels. He tries to get some momentum but Bulldog hammers him with a great clothesline. Corny shouts at Michaels and Mr. Perfect shoos him away to check on Michaels. USA chant starts up. Chinlocks. Always with the chinlocks. Irish whip and Michaels reverses it into a crucifix. Bodyslam reversed into a bodyslam and Michaels is knocked down. JR: “Sweet Chin Music was on the jukebox but nobody came to it.” Diana looks on, still frowning. She’s going to give herself worry lines, that one. Brutal piledriver by Davey and Shawn is down. Bulldog goes high and seems to slip as he jumps, landing too short and awkwardly. Owen claims Lothario shook the ropes.

Bulldog gets whipped into the corner and it’s Michaels turn to go high. Bulldog hits a fantastic dropkick to Michaels face on the turnbuckle. Superplex from the top rope and Michaels is practically thrown halfway over the ring. Bulldog pops Michaels on the turnbuckle and tries for a super backdrop which Michaels reverses into a crossbody. The pair run the ropes and both are down. Hebner starts a countout and gets to seven before anyone moves. Michaels goes for a hurricanrana and Bulldog reverses into a sitout powerbomb. Another near fall. Michaels fires Bulldog into the turnbuckle and the Englishman flips before hitting the turnbuckle, springing off it and landing facefirst in the ring. Christ, what a great spot. He twitches like a man near dead.

Hebner starts another countout and more Irish whips to a lariat. Both men are down and BOOM Michaels gets the kip-up. The crowd go ballistic. They know what’s coming. He stomps about the ring, hits Bulldog with a body slam, hitting Hebner by mistake. Elbow drop into Sweet Chin Music. Michaels goes for the pin and Mr. Perfect stops him to hit the one-two-three in tandem. Michaels retains via pinfall in 26:24.


Brilliant stuff marred by rest holds. The spots were worth it though with both men giving it their all. they went to entertain the crowd and did a damn good job of it.


I would not have watched a match with Bulldog in it.


Owen pulls Mr. Perfect out of the ring during the pin and claims that it was only a two-count. He dives in afterward to confront Michaels. Some punches, atomic drop and Irish whip into clothesline. Owen gets a figure four. Shawn beats the shite out of Bulldog and Owen before the numbers game is too much for him. Double suplex to Michaels and then AHMED JOHNSON runs to the ring and cleans house. The crowd are loving it. In comes Vader and Camp Cornette take over. The ring bell is rung and some fan on the hard cam who looks like the Dude throws up the X symbol. Michaels is up and a double axe handle from Owen drops him. It all becomes a schmoz and stops being fun as it’s all called on the fly. Vader goes for the Vader Bomb and out comes Cunt Warrior to save everyone and tell them how gay people are going to destroy America or whatever. Michaels’ music hits and the fan favourites hug each other.

The Go Home Stats.

Man of the Matches: At the end of the PPV, there were some great matches but only one man can be the Man of said Matches. I want to give it to my boy Goldie or even Stone Cold for that killer promo. I would be remiss if anyone other than Michaels gets it. He threw his body around with such reckless abandon and hit almost every spot with skill and precision.

Woman of the Matches: Not many to choose from here, with the only women being present all valets. I want to give it to Diana for her gormless expression but I would be silly to award it to anyone other than Sunny. She actually makes a match about oil barons and pig farmers entertaining.

Montel Vontavious Porter Award for Outstanding Achievement in the Field of Excellence: Shawn Michaels.

Best Spot: Michaels kip-up to Sweet Chin Music combo.

Hatches: Technically all of the wrasslers in the PPV are hatches as they appear for the first time on this blog, but none are legit hatches as they have wrestled in the Fed before now. Still, I will name them thusly: Ahmed Johnson, Leif Cassidy (Al Snow), Bart Gunn, Billy Gunn, Goldust, Henry O. Godwinn, Jake “the Snake” Roberts, Jerry “the King” Lawler, Jim Cornette, José Lothario, Mankind (Mick Foley), Wildman Marc Mero, Marty Jannetty, Phineas I. Godwinn (Mideon), Sable, Shawn Michaels, Skip (Chris Candido), “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “The British Bulldog” Davey Boy Smith, The Ultimate Warrior, The Undertaker, Big Van Vader and Zip all competed. Owen Hart provided commentary with Jumping Jim Ross and Vince McMahon. Triple H and Aldo Montoya (Rat Faced Knacker Justin Credible) were involved in a dark match.

Matches: Ahmed Johnson’s first title reign as Intercontinental Champion. Both Tag Team and World Champions retain.

Dispatches: The Ultimate Warrior performed his final match for the Fed at this PPV.

Closing Statements: Other than the fantastic promo from Austin and the highlights of the final match, this PPV was nothing to write home about. Wrestling was not due to become huge for another year or so yet, so it’s not surprising that this PPV seemed like it was phoned in. There were a few shitty quick matches and the rest were full of rest holds. Still, it had some big names and paved the way for the wrestling we all enjoyed over the next few years.

On the Card will return on July 21 with In Your House 9: International Incident.


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